I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for this fantastic book. I’m sharing this stop with the brilliant Dee from Novel Deelights, you can check out her review here : https://noveldeelights.com
The sixth mystery in the beloved and critically acclaimed Detective Kubu series. Kubu and his colleague Samantha Khama track a killer through the wilds of Botswana on their most dangerous case yet.
When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.
This book grabbed me straight away with what is possibly the most unusual and fascinating crime story I have read. I have been intrigued for a while with witch doctors so it was very interesting to learn more about them and their practices. I certainly didn’t realise there were still so many of them around and that so many people believed in their treatments. It was also very interesting to learn more about bushmen, their culture and their history. It’s hard to believe that people used to treat them so badly.
The story starts out with what appears to be an innocuous murder of a bushman in the desert. However as Samantha and Kubu investigate further the story seems to become a lot more complicated, with lots of different angles and people involved. This makes it impossible for the reader to guess what was happening next. I’m normally quite good at guessing the endings of books but this one really kept me guessing right to the end. The secrets/ information are slowly revealed at a natural pace which never seemed forced and at regular intervals which kept me intrigued and wanting to read more.
The characters are all very well drawn and seemed very real. I spent some time in Africa as a student and some of the descriptions of the characters made me smile as they reminded me of people I had met. I particularly liked Kabu, the larger than life Assistant Superintendent. He seemed to really care about his job and his colleagues often helping them above the call of duty. The fact that he is also struggling with an ill daughter at home makes him even more endearing and I found myself really hoping that he would succeed and have a happy ending.
This is the first book by Michael Stanley that I have read but it definitely won’t be my last as I have already bought Deadly Harvest which I hope to read soon. Dying to live is the 6th book in the Detective Kubu series but it reads very well as a stand alone book.
A huge thank you to Karen Sullivan, Anne Carter and Orenda publishers for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour. This is definitely a book I will be recommending to everyone!
Dying to live is published TODAY by Orenda publishers.
About the author:
Michael Stanley is the writing partnership of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Michael lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Stanley in Minneapolis.
We have travelled extensively in southern africa and have a special love of Botswana, where our detective novels are set.
Detective Kubu investigates complex murders in his native land, justifying his nickname by his size and tenacity (Kubu is Setswana for hippopotamus).
Kubu’s faces powerful people and an escalating chain of murders in his first adventure – A Carrion Death.
Next a confluence of events leads to murders whose roots lie hidden in the past, and a sinister group is as interested in finding the perpetrator as Kubu is in The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu (A Deadly Trade outside north America).
The third Detective Kubu mystery, Death of the Mantis, has the plight of the Khoi-San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari as its backstory. Kubu’s boyhood Bushman friend, Khumanego, asks him to help ensure some Bushmen get a fair trial for the alleged murder of a game ranger. The Bushmen escape and more murders follow. Kubu is unable to connect the dots. Eventually Kubu finds the unpleasant solution to the cases and nearly loses his own life doing so. Death of the Mantis was a finalist for an Edgar.
Deadly Harvest, the fourth Detective Kubu mystery, has as its backstory the use of human body parts for magic potions (called muti). Base on a true story, Detective Kubu and the first female detective in Botswana’s CID, the young Samantha Khama, try to resurrect a number of cold cases in which young girls have gone missing. When an aspiring politician is murdered and muti found in his house, the need for a solution becomes urgent. Deadly Harvest also deals with a single father whose daughter disappears and his quest for revenge and justice. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers award.
A Death in the Family, Kubu #5) has as its backstory the ramifications of corruption as the Chinese try to take over some of Botswana’s rich mineral deposits. However the story starts with Kubu’s elderly father being murdered. Despite his pleas, Kubu is kept off the case because of his personal involvement. However he keeps trying to solve it on his own. To keep him busy, he’s given a suicide to investigate. When he realises it probably wasn’t a suicide, the trail leads to the person in government responsible for allocating mining leases. A deadly riot at a village situated on land the Chinese want for a mine expansion raises suspicion that the ‘suicide’ and the riot are related.
In Dying to Live, Kubu #6, a Bushman is found dead, with internal organs far younger than his chronological age and a bullet embedded in his abdominal muscles with no entry wound. Then a witchdoctor disappears who is famous for his muti for extending life. Then an American academic also disappears, who knew the Bushman. Dying to Live is a story of greed and the lengths people will go to attain immortality and make their fortunes.
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